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Chapter 15

PSYC 2450 Chapter Notes - Chapter 15: Elliot Turiel, Moral Development, Social Order

Course Code
PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

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Chapter 15: Moral Development,
Altruism, and Aggression
Moral Development: Affective, Cognitive, and
Behavioural Components
Morality: Set of principles or ideals that help the individual to distinguish right
from wrong, to act on this distinction, and to feel pride in virtuous conduct and
guilt (or other unpleasant emotions) for conduct that violates one’s standards
oMorally mature individuals do not submit to society’s dictates because
they expect tangible rewards for complying fear punishments for
transgressing; rather they eventually internalize moral principle that they
have learned and conform to these ideals, even when authority figures are
not present to enforce them
Internalization: the process of adopting the attributes or standards of other
people-taking these standards as ones own
Character Dimension Sample Traits
1. Principled-Idealistic Has clear values; concerned about doing right; ethical; law
abiding; highly developed conscience
2.Dependable-loyal Responsible; loyal; reliable; faithful to spouse; honourable
3. Has Integrity Consistent; conscientious; rational; hard working
4. Caring-trustworthy Honest; trustful; sincere; kind; considerate
5. Fair Virtuous; fair; just
6. Confident Strong; self-assured; self-confident
How Developmentalists Look at Morality
Three moral components that university students mention in there consensual
definition of morality
1. An affective, or emotional, component that consists of the feelings (guilt, concern
for others feelings, etc) that surround right or wrong actions and that motivate
moral thoughts and actions
2. A cognitive component that centres on the way we conceptualize right and wrong
and make decisions about how to behave
3. A behavioural component that reflects how we actually behave when we
experience the temptation to lie
Moral Affect: the emotional component of morality, including feelings such as
guilt, shame, and pride in ethical conduct
Moral Reasoning: The cognitive component of morality; the thinking that people
display when deciding whether various acts are right or wrong

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Moral Behaviour: The behavioural component of morality; actions that are
consistent with one’s moral standards in situations in which one is tempted to
violate them
The Affective Component of Moral Development
Mature personality has 3 components:
1. Irrational id that seems the immediate gratification of instinctual needs
2. Rational ego that formulates realistic plans for meeting these needs
3. Moralistic superego (or conscience) that monitors the acceptability of the
ego’s thoughts and deeds
Freud claimed that infants and toddlers lack a superego and act on their selfish
impulses unless parents control their behaviour
Once superego emerges, it was said to function as an internal censor that has the
power to make a child feel proud of his or her virtuous conduct and guilty or
shameful about committing moral transgressions
Freud’s Theory of Oedipal Morality
Freud’s theory that moral development occurs during the phallic period (ages 3-
6), when the children internalize the moral standards of the same sex parent as
they resolve their Oedipus or Electra conflict
The Oedipus conflict for boys is resolved when a pattern after the father is
identified, particularly if his father was a threatening figure who aroused fear
The Electra conflict for girls is resolved by internalizing her mothers moral
However, Freud claimed that because girls do not experience intense fear of
castration that boys experience, they will develop weaker superegos than boys do
Newer Ideas about the Early Development of the Conscience
“Conscience” viewed from a social-learning or socialization perspective
Children may begin to form a conscience as toddlers if they are securely attached
to warm and responsive parents who have often cooperated with their wishes
during joint play and have shared many positive emotional experiences with them
Mutually Responsive Relationship: Parent-child relationship characterized by
mutual responsiveness to each others needs and goals and shared positive effect
Committed Compliance: Compliance based on the child’s eagerness to
cooperate with a responsive parent who has been willing to cooperate with
Situational Compliance: Compliance based primarily on a parents power to
control the child’s conduct
Cognitive Component of Moral Development
Cognitive Developmentalists study morality by examining the development of
moral reasoning that children display when deciding whether various acts are
right or wrong

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Both cognitive growth and social experiences help children to develop
progressively richer understandings of the meaning of rules, laws and
interpersonal obligations
Piaget’s Theory of Moral Development
Focused on two aspects of moral reasoning: respect for rules and conceptions of
To figure this out, he started to play marbles with children between the ages of 5
and 13
Premoral Period: Preschool children show little concern for or awareness of
rules. In the game of marbles, the children do not play systematically with the
intent of winning, instead, they seem to make up their own rules and think the
point of the game is to take turns and have fun
Heteronomous Morality: First stage of moral development, in which children
view the rules of authority figures as scared and unalterable
oHeteronomous means “under the rule of another”
oHeteronomous children are likely to judge the naughtiness of an act by its
objective consequences rather than by the actors content
oThey also favour expiratory punishment- punishment for its own sake with
no concern for its relation to the nature of the forbidden act (punishment
of receiving a spanking vs punishment of fixing something that was
broken (actually understanding what they did wrong)
oImmanent Justice: the notion that unacceptable conduct will invariably
be punished an that justice is ever present in the world
Autonomous Morality: Older, autonomous children now realize that social rules
are arbitrary agreements that can be challenged and even changed with the
consent of the people they govern
oThey feel that rules can be violated in the service of human needs
oEx. A driver who speeds during a medical emergency is no longer
considered immoral, even though she is breaking the law. Judgments of
right and wrong now depend more on the actors intent to deceive or to
violate social rules rather than the objective consequences of the act itself
oPunishment: morally autonomous children usually favours reciprocal
punishments- treatments that tailor to punitive consequences to the
“crime” so the rule breaker will understand the implications of a
transgression and perhaps be less likely to repeat it
Both cognitive maturation and social experience play a role in the transition from
heteronomous to autonomous morality
oThe cognitive advances that are necessary for this shift are a general
decline in egocentrism and the development of role taking skills that
enable the child to view moral issues from several perspectives
oEqual status with peers may lead to a more flexible autonomous morality
because they 1) lessen the child’s respect for adult authority, 2) increase
his or her self respect and respect for peers 3) illustrate that rules are
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